Saturday, December 31, 2016

Washing Things the Hard Way, Goodbye to 2016

I visited my mother on laundry day, joined her in the basement to hang up pieces from the previous wash.  She had about five 5-gallon buckets filled with sudsy water she captured when the washer emptied.  She lifted the lid to stop the water so that we could switch to a new bucket.

When the rinse cycle completed, new laundry filling the tub,  I used 2-gallon buckets to pour the saved, sudsy water back in the washer. The last inch of water at the bottom of each bucket she poured through a sieve to catch the loosened threads.

Then again, capturing the suds, allowing the rise water to fill, lid up so there would be more time to soak. She had another bucket filled with starch to soak tea towels and soak.  She had saved the cooking water from her homemade macaroni for this purpose. She read my face, saying I looked dissatisfied by the process.  I suppose I foolishly and hopefully thought she let the washer complete an entire cycle by itself.  I told her I was worried about the strenuous nature of her lugging 40 pounds of water multiple times.  I have offered to wash for her or collect dirty laundry to wash at my home and then redeliver. She declined each time I offered.  I can see that it was because it wouldn't be done her way.

She has a sturdy top loading washer from the mid-1980s.  Also a never used dryer, unless you count it a a surface for folding. My brothers, then, had disposed of her old, perfectly working wringer model, as a way of saving labor. As long as I lived at her house, she and I washed successive cycles from whites, to light colors, darks, to work clothes and socks in the same soapy water.  Rinsing and wringing by hand in two sides of a cement sink.  Then hanging up to dry outside in fair weather, the basement in foul. When the weather was changed back and forth, the laundry went in an out multiple times as well. That made me a little bit annoyed.

At my home, I wash in a low water HE front loading washer.  I have to completely prewash certain food- or blood-stained things because the stains would only redistribute themselves onto everything else. I hang things up to dry outside.  Clotheslines travel up 3 flights of an open air back porch, diagonally along the railings, straight along the outer fences.  A small, metal folding rack is permanently positioned outside our back door.  Sock, napkins, undies, tea towels dry there.  Two, possible 3 loads will fit along all the lines.  For sanity's sake I try to do one load a day. Two is ok. We rarely use the dryer.  Once on a cold, snowy night I did, only to gnash my teeth at how much white, fluffy fiber was removed from our towels onto the lint trap. So I'll go along, doing things my way.


Jessica@CapeofDreams said...

Happy New Year! I can identify with your mother - I hate when things aren't done my way either. Line drying is the best. I was so happy that my house came with lines set up outside and in the basement when I bought it.

tess said...

Happy New Year to you too! I hope to set up lines in the basement too. Would make winter easier. Have to clear the cobwebs first!